Welcome to Scribd, the world's digital library. Read, publish, and share books and documents. See more
Standard view
Full view
of .
Look up keyword
Like this
0 of .
Results for:
No results containing your search query
P. 1
Using Peer

Using Peer

Ratings: (0)|Views: 3|Likes:
Published by parulkbhatia

More info:

Published by: parulkbhatia on Jan 07, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


Read on Scribd mobile: iPhone, iPad and Android.
download as RTF, PDF, TXT or read online from Scribd
See more
See less





Using peer mentors during periods of uncertainty
Philip H. SiegelSilberman School of Business, Fairleigh DickinsonUniversity, Madison,New Jersey, USA
Mentoring,Mergers and acquisitions,Uncertainty, Grounded theory,Accounting profession
 This article shows how peer relationships in work settings can affect adjustments and personal and professional growthduring stressful periods caused by mergers and acquisitions. After identifying subordinate, peer and mentoringrelationships and demonstrating how individuals normally form such relationships at various career stages, the study findsthat peer relationships may provide an antidote to stress at all professional levels. Moreover, accountants tend to favorthe psycho-social aspect of peer relationships during and after a merger.
Received: November 1999 Revised/accepted: April
Leadership & Organization Development Journal 21/5 [
] 243±253# MCB University Press [
ISSN 0143-7739
 Today's competitive environment requires accountants to master new technical and political skills tosucceed, e.g. developing new kinds of mentoring and peer relationships. Scandura and Siegel (1995)describe how mentoring helps individual accountants cope with change, and Siegel et al.(1994)show that mentoring relationships can help individuals develop throughout early and mid-career stages. Yet, the accounting literature has not considered other work relationships, such aspeers, that can contribute to professional and career growth. The purpose of this paper is toexamine if peer relationships in professional settings strengthen professional growth and personaladjustment during periods of stress due to mergers and restructurings among CPA firms. Afterreviewing research studies on mentoring during organizational change, the paper discusses theimportance of other developmental relationships in CPA firms; describes the research methodology;and presents the results of the study.
Mentoring relationship during mergers and uncertainty
Kram and Hall (1989)show how mentoring helps individuals cope with organizational change andactuate effective adjustment to such changes requiring a different learning process than existedprior to the change. This is an ongoing process that requires constant adoption of new skills andadditional insights into the organizations' structure. During mergers, corporate reengineering andrapid technological changes, organizations generally use fewer resources, while requiring employeesto assume more responsibilities and wider ranges of tasks. Mergers create stress due to employeeuncertainty about their changing work, the
 The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available athttp://www.emerald-library.com
organization's future direction and job security (Van de Ven and Poole, 1995). Ashkanasy andHolmes (1995)indicate that, during the early stages of a merger, employees often face frequentdemoralization and compromised professional standing resulting from shock and retreat. Schweigerand DeNisi (1991)found that providing realistic communications can help reduce some of this stressexperienced during the mergers or restructuring.Mentoring in the traditional sense includes teaching (transfer of knowledge and skill) andcounseling (dealing with organizational career/personal life issues)between experienced(mentor)and less experienced (proteÂge )persons. On the other hand, peer relationships involveindividuals at the same career or professional level who often provide such mentoring focuses ascoaching and career/personal life development (Viator and Scandura, 1991). The attrition thatgenerally accompanies corporate restructuring reduces the number of available mentors, which, inturn, reduces the amount of verbal communication. Peer mentors thus help fill this void by providingboth critical horizontal communications and traditional mentoring functions. This paper analyzes how peer relationships can mitigate the expected negative effects of mergerson personnel. Siegel et al.'s (1998) analysis of why individuals form and keep peer relationshipswithin the context of organizational and task uncertainty that a merger creates found that thefunctions performed by peer relationships almost exclusively concentrated in the psycho-social area.Psycho-social functions involve the development of personal feelings of confidence, competence and job acceptance; mentoring can also assist in the career enhancing function by strengthening theindividual's ability to become a leader in his/ her profession (Kram, 1985).By focusing on the merger of two international CPA firms this study found a
[ 243 ]
Philip H. SiegelUsing peer mentors during periods of uncertaintyLeadership & Organization Development Journal 21/5 [2000] 243±253
familiar phenomenon: the uncertainty resulting from the merger tends to flatten out CPA firms'normally, clearly defined hierarchical structures; that is, ``fear'' of the future makes everyone morequantitatively equal ± especially as the new firm eliminates staff and layers of management.According to Clawson (1996), in the context of emerging organizational structures and rapidtechnological change with confusing professional anchor points, professionals of approximately thesame age and experience level should be involved in mentoring activities, especially as teamworkprojects replace the natural competitiveness toward a bureaucratic pyramid.
Mergers and stress
Little (1998), Thompson (1998), Ashkanasy and Holmes (1995), and others indicate that today'scontinuous wave of mergers, acquisitions and corporate restructurings(i.e. corporate downsizing)put increased demands on employees and management personnel.Recently, the American Management Association (1998)reported that personnel who ``survived''corporate downsizing need help in adapting to their new corporate environments and the manychanges that ensue. However, employees often seem to ``resist'' this change, particularly when acorporate culture is about to undergo a major transformation. Thompson (1998)notes further thatthe biggest challenge facing corporations after a merger is the integration of corporate cultures.Similarly, Little (1998)stresses that ``workforce alignment'' of their prior cultures is the majorchallenge facing merged companies.
Mentoring simulations
Siegel et al. (1994)show that mentoring helps employees refine their organizational role, preparesthem for advancement and provides a psycho-social sphere in which they receive role modelingcounseling and friendship. Changing circumstances or proteÂge s' needs may cause relationshipsto end or shift to new phases (Kram, 1983). Mergers, transfers, restructuring or promotions, or otherorganizational changes can alter the context of mentoring relationships (Scandura and Siegel,1995). The outcome of mentoring change can cause feelings of loss or anxiety as individuals separatefrom such relationships (Phillips-Jones, 1983). Mentoring relationships entering the termination orredemption phase fail to perform the central functions that previously gave the mentoring suchimportance (Kram, 1983).According to Clawson (1996), as organizations flatten and bureaucratic pyramids transform intoovals and circles, personnel often look more toward their peers for guidance. This is especially truefor more formal organizations with more distinct pyramids, but the finding also applies to less formalones. However, many senior personnel may not understand, identify or even want to encourage thisnew organizational environment. Further, later career personnel often lack the technical skills thatfrequently are becoming an integral part of these flatter organizational structures (e.g. working inteams).
Peer relationships
Prior studies have shown the potential of peer relationships. Kram's (1985)intensive review study of pairs of junior and senior managers who were involved in mentoring relationships found thatsubordinate and peer relationships could provide alternatives to mentoring relationships, since manyparticipants indicated the importance of peer relationships when mentoring relationships ended,changed or failed to meet critical developmental needs.Scandura and Siegel (1995)found that peer relationships seemed to act like mentoring duringcorporate mergers, and that individuals likely will have more peer relationships than mentors in arapidly developing hierarchical corporate culture resulting from mergers. Reducing hierarchicaldimensions in peer relationships expedited communications, mutual support and collaboration. The present research focuses on how peer relationships function among CPA professionals during

You're Reading a Free Preview

/*********** DO NOT ALTER ANYTHING BELOW THIS LINE ! ************/ var s_code=s.t();if(s_code)document.write(s_code)//-->